Spirit of South Carolina is a 140-foot, traditional sailing vessel called a schooner, a type of sailing vessel of archetypal American design dating to approximately the 1800s. The American schooner type achieved world-wide fame when, in 1851, the American schooner America defeated a fleet of British yachts in a race circumnavigating the Isle of Wight to win what came to be known as the America’s Cup. Spirit of South Carolina’s design closely resembles that of the 19th century Charleston Harbor pilot schooner Frances Elizabeth which in turn was based on the famous schooner America.
She gets her name from the passion that built her. South Carolina shipwrights and volunteers laid each plank and drove every fastening just steps from her home port in downtown Charleston. Frames, planks and interior finish were shaped from South Carolina Live Oak, Cypress and Long Leaf Yellow Pine, widely regarded as the finest natural materials for shipbuilding. Extensive varnish work showcases the raw beauty of these native woods and the fine craftsmanship joining it all together. With a massive main sail and fisherman staysail, Spirit’s silhouette is unmistakable. And with six sails and graceful, sleek sheer, she’s fast. She was built to accommodate 30 souls overnight and is well equipped for long-distance passages; she has the potential to sail anywhere in the world. Twin diesel engines assist when the wind is calm.